Ian Maxi tone Graham has always been one of my favorite Simpsons writers. He tends to write the best episode every season. Last year, he wrote the excellent Emmy award winning episode entitled The Seemingly Never Ending Story. This year, he won an Annie award for best writing in a television production for his work on the 24 Minutes script. He has certainly got a good track record.
The episode begins with Skinner setting up a Counter Truancy Unit to take down bullies Dolph, Kearney, and Jimbo who are trying to stink bomb the school. An episode full of hilarity ensues.
There were certainly a lot of great one liners in this episode. I especially enjoyed the scene where Homer and Millhouse are riding down the street in a dumpster and they see Chief Wiggum in his police car. To avoid being pulled over, Homer puts a banana peel on his head pretending to be a woman and flirts with chief Wiggum. In a high pitched voice he says, “Hello officer” to which Wiggum replies, “Evening ma’am. What is it about a woman in a dumpster?”
Another scene I thought was funny was when Marge is trying to make a cake and is horrified that they are out of raisins. According to Marge, “kids love the zing of raisins.”
There were a lot of clever bits in this show that made this a stellar episode. For example, Skinner getting Bart to trail the bullies around town to see what they are up to; Martin Prince, who turns out to be a mole in Martin’s Counter Truancy unit, gives himself a wedgie wracked with guilt over his betrayal; Homer and Millhouse riding the dumpster to the school bake sale; and Marge saving Bart from drowning in the room next to the bake sale by throwing a burnt cake at the window, were all ingenious moments that made this episode tremendously entertaining. For such a silly show, this episode had a remarkably complex plot.
However, there were a few problems I had with this episode. For example, 24 is very popular, so the writers must have realized that other shows would probably parody it to. While listening to the audio commentary of this episode, the commentators said that they did not send this episode in for Emmy consideration because South Park also did a 24 parody as well. Also, I could not help but notice that the opening of the episode was very similar to the third part of the movie Stewie the Untold Story based off the show Family Guy, where they open the movie with the 24 introduction to recap the events of the previous two movies. Whether or not the writers were aware of Family Guy’s 24 parody is anybody’s guess.
There was one line near the end of the episode that I took issue with where Homer meets Sarah Wiggum who has a big plate of Rice Krispy squares on the table and Homer says in a disgusted tone of voice: “rice Krispy squares? Way to phone it in Sarah Wiggum.” This line was too mean spirited for my taste and if this scene had been taken out altogether, it would not have done anything to detract from the main plot.
In general this was probably one of the strongest episodes of the season. Although not as emotional as previous episodes like the Haw Hawed Couple or Springfield Up, this was still a great show. 8.5/10